Staff and postgraduate students at Imperial College London participated in the annual Pride in London parade. 29 people made up the Imperial cohort, whose entry was co-ordinated by Imperial 600, the College’s LGBTQ+ network for staff and postgraduate students. The Imperial cohort was joined by counterpart networks from King’s College London and University College London.
Caz Ulley, co-chair of Imperial 600 emphasised the importance of the College maintaining its presence at Pride in London, “especially as we welcome students and staff from all over the world, including those countries where it is illegal to be gay”.
Dan Hdidouan, a PhD student in the Centre for Environmental Policy who recently featured in the College’s LGBTSTEM Day social media campaign and also participated in the parade said, “Pride and the parade was an incredible experience. I used to be defensive and insecure about my sexuality. It’s liberating being honest with yourself and others, and it’s fun doing it with amazing people at Imperial. I wanted to march to continue passing this message of pride in who we are, pride in acceptance of myself and others – it’s a lesson worth sharing.”
Professor Stephen Curry, Assistant Provost (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), marched as part of the Imperial cohort and described Pride in London as “a festival that celebrates love in all its different forms, gives a voice to those who have been silenced and champions the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.”
The Pride in London parade was the culmination of almost a month-long festival of events. This year’s theme, ‘Pride Matters’, is a reflection of the importance of ‘Pride’ as a vehicle for protest and a symbol of freedom and diversity. The parade saw 30,000 people from approximately 500 different organisations march in what festival organisers have described as the “most diverse” parade ever.
Professor Curry went on to say “the celebration and challenge that Pride represents echoes Imperial’s desire to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for everyone at the College. By marching in the parade we are sending a message to staff and students at Imperial who are part of the LGBTQ+ community: you are welcome here.”
The parade, which took place on Saturday 7th July, started at Portland Place and moved through much of Central London before finishing in Whitehall, passing Oxford Circus, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square and more along the way.